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Minutes of the 1972 A.G.M.

….being the minutes the second part of the 1972 Annual General Meeting.

The adjourned meeting reconvened at the Belfry at 2 p.m. on the Sunday.  By 2.10, a count revealed 26 members and the Chairman declared the meeting open.  To allow further members to arrive, he said that he would take a member's resolution first, before dealing with the Ian Dear Fund rules.  Thus, a resolution proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin that "The expression 'full' and 'Junior' membership should gradually be dropped, but that we continue to charge younger members less" was put to the meeting.

Alan Thomas explained that the word 'Junior' was objectionable to some younger members. Jock Orr said that he had not found this to be the case.  In reply to a question as to whether the intention of the resolution was to modify the subscription for younger members, Alan said that this was not the case. There was no further discussion, and the Chairman put the resolution to the vote.  It was defeated (2-12) with the remainder abstaining.

The proposed changes to the rules for the Ian Dear Memorial fund were dealt with next.  The Chairman put a general resolution by Joan and Ray Bennett to the meeting that "In order to save time, discussion of the proposed changes to the rules shall consist of firstly the submission of formal amendments to any of the propositions, followed by discussion and voting on the amendments.  Finally, the whole set of resolutions, amended or otherwise, shall be voted for en bloc."  This resolution was passed by the meeting with no discussion with 24 in favour and one against.

There were no amendments proposed for rule 1.

In rule 2, Dave Irwin proposed the deletion of the word CERTAIN and the substitution of the word YOUNGER members in line with Ian's will.  Bob Bagshaw said that, in fact, the will mentioned 'Junior' members. Dave replied that he would therefore accept 'Junior' and Bob seconded the amendment as now worded.

A discussion then took place on the subject of what Ian might have done had he been with us to-day. Amongst the points made, Alan Thomas said that Ian's intention was that the money should be used for the purpose he specified and that we must therefore arrange to use it, even if this meant altering the conditions to suit changing circumstances which Ian could not have foreseen.  Dave Irwin maintained that once we started to put words into Ian's mouth, as it were, there might be no limit to this process and that in any case; the money was always there to be used in the way that Ian specified if the right circumstances arose. After this discussion, the Chairman put the amendment to the meeting, and it was carried by 19 votes to 11.

Joan and Roy Bennett tabled an amendment to Rule 3 as follows: “The fund will be administered by an Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee of five members.  This will consist of the Hon. Treasurer, the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two other members who will be elected annually at the same time and by the same procedures as the General Committee.  The previous year’s ordinary members would be automatically nominated and would carry on in office if no other nominations were received. The aforesaid committee will report to the Annual General Meeting.”  This amendment was carried without dissent.

In discussing rule 4, Dave Irwin pointed out that the same argument which had been put forward in the case of rule 2 applied here also, and that logically, rule 4 should now be deleted in its entirety.  A discussion on the lines already reported took place, with George Honey, speaking as an old friend of Ian's, coming out in favour of altering the conditions in line with present day requirements.  Dave Turner proposed that the conditions should include members under 18 years of age or full time students.  This was seconded. Dave Irwin said that this would be contrary to the will and reiterated his point that rules 2 and 4 were now incompatible.  The discussion reached a deadlock.

The Chairman pointed out to the meeting that the amended rule 2 specified the word 'Junior' which, in our club, had a specific meaning and thus any attempt to alter this by rule 4 could not be done.  Furthermore, because the meeting had accepted an arrangement whereby it had confined itself to carrying or defeating the entire set of rules en bloc; if it wanted a rule 4 of any sort, its only course of action now open to it would be to vote now on the rules as they stood, reject them en bloc, and start the procedure again - this time being careful to avoid any incompatibility between rules.

Dave Turner then withdrew his amendment and Bob Bagshaw proposed that all discussion be terminated. This was seconded and carried unanimously.  The Chairman then called for a vote on the proposals en bloc.  This was then defeated unanimously and Jock Orr then proposed Roy and Joan's original proposal again.  This was seconded and accepted by the meeting.

Discussing rule 2, Dave Irwin said that he still felt it should specify 'younger' members.  A further discussion took place on the lines previously reported.  Dave Irwin maintained that the will must in all cases be adhered to strictly, while George Honey was in favour of any changes which would make it more easy to administer.  Dave Turner suggested that the definition of who can benefit be left to be specified in rule 4, while rule 2 merely mentions 'members' who would then be further specified in rule 4.

Dave Irwin said that he had no objection to this as long as the conditions of Ian's will were adhered to. Dave Turner said that rules 2 and 4 could be regarded as being mutually unnecessary.  A vote was finally taken on and it was passed with 28 in favour and 1 against.

Rule 3 was accepted unanimously with Roy's amendment as previously.

On rule 4, George Honey suggested that the definitions of the exceptions should come out.  This was seconded by Peter Lane.  Dave Irwin suggested that this could still leave rule 4 open to interpretation. After a short discussion, the chairman put the amendment to the meeting and it was carried with 25 in favour and 5 against.

No amendments were suggested to rule 5.

Mike Palmer tabled an amendment to rule 6, that "The maximum amount of monies allocated in anyone year shall be left to the discretion of the I.D.M.F. Committee. The maximum amount allocated to any individual is unlikely to exceed twenty pounds per trip."  This was seconded by Dave Turner and carried by the meeting.

An amendment to rule 7 from Joan and Roy Bennett read “The fund to be invested in a building society or similar scheme and the interest retained within the fund.”  Alan Thomas suggested that the investment should be left to the discretion of the treasurer but agreed that the interest should be retained within the fund.  Roy and Joan then withdrew their amendment in favour of Alan's, which was seconded by Joan Bennett.  The amendment was carried with 7 against.

Mike Palmer then proposed an additional rule 8.  "The elected chairman shall give a report as directed from time to time by the A.G.M." but the Chairman ruled that this was already covered by rule 3 and Mike Palmer then withdrew.

The amendments en bloc were then put to the meeting, and carried with 3 against.

The Chairman now dealt with the remaining member’s resolutions, the second of which was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin "That nobody should be able to propose or second membership applications until his own /membership has been ratified."  Bob Bagshaw asked whether a resolution of this type was necessary, pointing out that the committee could always refer a form back if it thought the proposer or seconder inadequate.  After a short discussion, during which the proposal was agreed to amount to a constitutional change, it was proposed that the matter be brought up at next year’s A.G.M., with the committee looking into it meanwhile, as the subject hardly warranted a special committee investigation. This was carried by the meeting with 3 against.

The Chairman said that a number of proposals had been given in which all affected voting methods, and asked those who had proposed them if they would agree to have them taken together. A discussion arose as to whether changes in the constitution would be necessary.  Alfie proposed that a committee be set up to investigate.  If no constitutional changes were required by their findings, the changes in voting procedures could be implemented by the General committee in time for the next election.  If changes to the constitution were required, then this would count as the year's committee stage required by the constitution and the changes could be voted on at the next A.G.M.  This was agreed to by the meeting.  Bob Bagshaw asked if the committee could have directions from the meeting, and mentioned specifically whether the meeting wanted a secret ballot or not.  In order to get the feeling of the meeting, Bob proposed that the ballot be not secret. This was seconded by Tim Large and defeated (9-20).  The Chairman reminded the meeting that this was advice, not direction.

The Chairman said that another set of resolutions all affected the A.G.M. and Dinner, and asked if these could be taken and discussed en bloc.  The meeting, after a short discussion on whether the A.G.M. and dinner should continue to be held on the same day; day this or these should be; and where they should be held, Alfie proposed that the A.G.M. should be held at Belfry at 10.30 a.m. on the first Saturday of October; followed by the dinner the same evening.  This was seconded by Mike palmer and carried (30-7).

The Chairman then took a resolution by G.E. Oaten, seconded by Brenda Wilton "It is proposed that a check shall be made at each A.G.M. on the persons present to determine who are fully paid up members and entitled to vote."  Dave Turner said that anybody can point out strangers on a point of order at present, and what does 'any sum in respect of membership' mean in clause 41 of the constitution?  Joan said that it only meant subscriptions.  After some further discussion, the chairman ruled that clause 41 should be enforced but decided that a resolution to this effect was not necessary since the constitution already assumed that it would, in fact, occur.

The next resolution was from Mike Palmer, seconded by Nigel Jago, "That all members co-opted to the committee in any year of office shall not automatically be considered as nominated for re-election to the new committee."  The, chairman said that this was undoubtedly a change to the constitution and suggested that it would, with the agreement of the proposer and seconder, be easier if it was minuted as a recommendation to the committee.  Mike said that he now wished to withdraw the proposal.  Tim Hodgson then said that he would propose it himself and his proposal was seconded by Nigel Jago.  A vote was taken and it was defeated (3-20).  A suggestion was then made that, since we had had a chairman's ruling that the proposal should be minuted as a recommendation to the committee, should it not now be minuted as a recommendation against this course of action, since the meeting had defeated the proposal?  The Chairman put this to the meeting informally.  The meeting decided to drop the entire matter.

A resolution by Barry Wilton, seconded by G.E. Oaten "That any committee post which becomes vacant should be advertised in the B.B. so that every member has the opportunity to offer his services" was taken next.  A short discussion followed and Alfie proposed an amendment to add the words 'wherever practicable' after 'B.B.'  This was seconded by George Honey and carried unanimously.

A resolution by Mike Palmer, seconded by Pete Franklin, that “The 72/73 committee consider and report on the effects of adopting the following as an amendment to the present electoral system:~ That any member who serves on the committee for three consecutive years shall retire automatically for one year before standing again for the committee.” was taken next.  After a very short discussion, the motion was lost by one vote (15-16).

The next resolution was "That the committee shall, in future not accept for membership anyone unless they are reasonably sure that he or she has been caving or climbing with the B.E.C. for at least six months."  This was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin.  Joan Bennett said that this is one of the reasons why we have a probationary membership.  Sid asked how effective this was in practice.  Alan said that nobody had, as yet, been refused ratification. Joan pointed out that in some cases ratification has been postponed.  Dave Turner said that a new member must make himself known, but Dave Irwin said that such an arrangement had no teeth.  Joan disagreed and said that the power was there.  The Chairman called for a vote, and the proposal was defeated (6-19).

The next resolution, proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Tim Hodgson was "That the committee should investigate and report to next year's A.G.M. on the possibility of forming a B.E.C. Special Branch of the British Sub Aqua Club."  This was put straight to the vote and carried by 13 - 7.

Another resolution by Alan Thomas, seconded by Dave Irwin "That future Officers' Reports should not be published in the B.B. or, alternately, the B.B's containing officers' reports should be restricted to club members."  A short discussion followed in which it was argued that by having the reports in the B.B., time was saved at the A.G.M. and that the reports did not become lost.  On the other hand, it was sometimes politic not to publish to strangers all the matter of an officer's report.  The Chairman said that he felt this was something which could be worked by the general committee if the meeting so wished.  A was taken, passing the resolution in principle but referring the actual mechanism whereby the best arrangement could be obtained to the committee. (25-3)

A resolution limiting life membership in certain circumstances was withdrawn after a Chairman's ruling that the Secretary should write to all Life Members once a year at their last known address asking them to confirm this and, on getting no reply, should cease to communicate with them.  The meeting endorsed this ruling and, there being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 5.10 p.m.

Minute Taker's Note: 

Parts of this session of the meeting became very difficult to follow and record. I have made every attempt to reflect the feelings and conclusions of the meeting but those who attended will realise why I ask that some allowance be made in reading what I found very difficult to write.

S.J. Collins.